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'Traffic counts are a good starting point for OOH accountability'

By M4G Bureau - February 23, 2015

Mark Henning, Head of Media & Digital, AMAP, Millward Brown explains that the requirement of metrics is not only to justify the campaign but also to retain and grow budgets, whereas his Indian clients are using research just to identify channel choice and media weights.

While the Indian OOH industry is quite actively pushing the envelope to find a common measurement system, Outdoor Asia spoke with Mark Henning, Head of Media & Digital, AMAP, Millward Brown, who has conducted various studies on different outdoor industries, to understand the various aspects of the research and measurement metrics. Edited excerpts:

Do you think that research and measurement metrics can help the OOH advertising industry to get a larger share of the overall advertising pie?

There is an ever increasing expectation of accountability around marketing spends, so marketers need to demonstrate that they are being effective with their media and advertising budgets. This filters through and puts pressure on decisions regarding advertising spends and media choice. Marketers need to justify that their campaigns are working, to retain and grow budgets. The same applies at a channel level, where we often hear from clients that lack of relevant metrics is a barrier to spending more on a particular media. Australia (MOVE) is a good example where introducing a credible measurement system for OOH has positively contributed to the growth of the media overall.

What kind of research do you undertake for the OOH advertising industry?

Millward Brown works with advertisers and the OOH industry in three main areas:

  • Understanding and optimising outdoor advertising's impact on brand building metrics within the scope of multimedia campaigns.

  • Pre-Testing of outdoor creative to optimise copy and maximise the impact of outdoor advertising for clients.

  • Various custom projects to understand how consumers interact with, perceive and are exposed to OOH advertising.

Currently, research on outdoor advertising is broadly based on data like traffic count. Is there scope for qualitative research with respect to outdoor advertising?

Traffic counts are a good starting point for OOH accountability. However qualitative research can add more insight into perceptions of the media, the role it plays in people's lives in various circumstances, the role in plays in the path to purchase for various categories and helping to understand perceptions of emerging formats. All of these examples provide additional context to traffic counts and can help demonstrate categories, brands, attitudes and situations that may be well suited to including OOH within a campaign.

Are you planning to conduct any research in India that would be of the essence to the Indian OOH industry?

We are already working with advertiser clients in India who have used outdoor advertising as part of their multimedia campaigns. These advertisers are using this research to make decisions on channel choice, media weights and optimisation to deliver the best performance from their brand campaigns.

Have you conducted any research on outdoor advertising in the Asian markets, or any other developing markets?

Again, we are already working with a broad range of advertiser clients throughout Asia, Africa and Middle East who have used outdoor advertising as part of their multimedia campaigns. In addition, we also work with clients in the region for outdoor creative pre-testing and various other custom projects.

You have an ad tracking tool called ADExpress. Does it work for OOH media too?

Yes. Our AdExpress solution is designed to provide creative performance and diagnostic recommendations for all main media.  

With digital OOH gradually gaining ground, do you think that research on outdoor advertising will grow in demand?  

Yes, as discussed previously, the demand for accountability is driving the need for research to prove reach, effectiveness and ultimately efficiency of OOH relative to other media. Digital formats will likely be positioned as premium, so to justify additional investment; independent research will continue to be sought by advertisers to help inform media planning decisions.  

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